Create Intentional Vocabulary

Have you listened to how folks describe their day-to-day lives at work? Here are some of the words and phrases I regularly hear:

  • I’m drowning.
  • I’m in over my head.
  • This is killing me.

These messages are telling our brains that we are in a state of STRESS! They are creating the opposite of Joy.

So you may be thinking…”But that’s how I feel, Vicki!”

Unfortunately, talking about negative feelings can promote more negative feelings. According to an article in Well+Good, “the words you speak and think can automatically trigger a biological response in your body that increases your edginess exponentially.” The article goes on to say, “It may sound woo woo, but biology backs up the belief that stress ultimately starts when you say that you’re stressed.”

Your body responds to thoughts and emotions that are happening in your brain. When you consistently talk about being crazy busy, overwhelmed or in over your head then your body responds by releasing catecholamines (the fight or flight hormone). These hormones start to reinforce the idea that you are in danger.

Intentionally choosing your vocabulary positively influences the way you feel and the actions you take. When someone asks about your day, try saying “I’ve always got plenty of work to do to keep me out of trouble” or “This job provides me with a great opportunity to challenge my skills for organization and productivity”.

Well+Good shares…“The old “fake it ‘til you make it” tactic definitely applies here: Research shows it really does help to feign happiness and positivity, even if you feel like things are falling apart. One recent study showed that those who were instructed to smile during a stressful task had a lower heart rate and reported more positive emotions than those who didn’t, while another proved optimistic thinkers have lower cortisol levels than pessimists.”

Focusing on mindfulness can help too. When feeling the stress, stop and take a few deep breaths before you start to get into a busy contest with colleagues. These breaths makes a huge difference in your body’s response to the stress that you’re experiencing. You may very well be in over your head but that doesn’t mean you have to make it part of your everyday conversations.

Start growing your WOW’s by looking at things that you actually have control over and do something about those. Stop lamenting about all the things you don’t have control over. It’s not necessarily an easy fix but it’s one that’s well worth the time and effort for your body and mind.

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